Saint-Martin is a small island in the Caribbean Sea, a scattering of small spa pearls of the Antilles archipelago. Turquoise lagoons here are in harmony with white sandy beaches, mangroves and coconut palms. The water temperature during the year is from +25 to +30 ° C. Feedback from tourists will help you find out how easy it is to get to where to stay and what to do on the island.
St. Martin, St. Martin or St. Martin's Island?
The eastern part of the Caribbean Sea is bordered by a chain of Lesser Antilles, stretching from Puerto Rico almost to the shores of Venezuela (South America). 8 km to the south of the beginning of the ridge is the island of Saint-Martin. France controls its northern territory. South is an autonomous state entity, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. There are no state borders on this tiny land, only a symbolic sign is established.
Residents speak French, Dutch, English and local dialects. Creole people call their house "Coconut Island". Dutch toponym - Sint Maarten - in English-speaking countries sounds like Saint Martin. In some Russian publications the name "Fr. Saint Martin ".
Tropical island in turquoise waters
"French Riviera of the Caribbean Sea" - the unofficial name of Saint-Martin, which is given for the high quality of beach recreation and ample opportunities for entertainment. Many stars, businessmen, politicians, artists, writers from all over the world have chosen local resorts, saturated with a gentle sunshine beach. St. Martin in the Caribbean, thanks to the constancy of the tropical climate, is available at any time of the year. The average air temperature in winter is + 26 ° C, in summer - up to +32 ° C.
The weather is the same on the French and Dutch side of the island, because its area is only 87 km². The high season for an ideal holiday begins from the middle of December and lasts until April. But it is during this period that it is difficult to book a hotel room, unless you take care of it in advance. Some tourists avoid coming here in the summer from June to November, when the rains are raining and the probability of hurricanes increases. The off-season is a little more rainfall than usual, and a general decline in prices by 20-50%. At this time, cheap tickets, hotel accommodation, services for tourists. Not so crowded in cities and on the coast.
How to get to the island in the Caribbean Sea
In the busy and busy international airport of Princess Juliana in the south-west of the Netherlands part of the aircraft come from different airlines in the world, mostly European and North American. The flight from Russia includes a transfer in Paris or Amsterdam. The Esperance Regional Airport is located on the territory of the French overseas community.
In July and August, cheap air tickets become cheaper, hotel accommodation becomes more affordable. The only problem can be the cancellation of flights due to the fact that the aircraft are not filled.
European tourists do not consider the summer months a low season on the island of Saint-Martin. Paris and the tropical airport in July and August are connecting more flights than in January. During the off-season, many tourists come from Italy. Cheap flights to the island can be purchased in September and October. But these same months are the rainiest and windiest in this part of the Caribbean. On the Dutch side, prices are indicated in guilders and US dollars (1 guilder = 1.8 dollars). The official currency of the French territory is the euro, but US dollars are also accepted.
Accommodation on. Saint-Martin. Hotels in the French part
Find housing on a resort island is not too difficult, but one should take into account the differences in the conditions of each of the territories. The Dutch part has large hotels and a casino, French tourists like to rent holiday apartments, a studio, a villa with a terrace, a private pier and a swimming pool took a fancy. Exterior decoration, interiors correspond to the level of the Mediterranean resorts of Saint-Tropez and Cannes. Still this side of the island attracts the beauty and fame of Orient beach, exquisite French cuisine.
Several comfortable hotels are in the capital of Paris-controlled territory - the city of Marigot. The price range depends on the location and level of service. The most popular and expensive are beach hotels, for example, "Plaza Beach". On the west coast there is a five-star hotel "La Samanna", which is an autonomous resort with a private beach, fitness and spa centers, tennis courts and a swimming pool. In addition, it offers kayaking, wakeboarding, water skiing, cruises around the island, scuba diving.
Resorts and hotels on Dutch territory
The capital of the island of St. Maarten on the Dutch side - Philipsburg - attracts tourists from all over the world. In the city there are cheap hotels and luxury hotels. One of the most popular resorts - Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino is located fifteen minutes drive from the airport and 10 minutes from the business center. Here you can sunbathe on the beach, practice water sports, play tennis, relax in the casino or simply enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool.
Another popular hotel in Philipsburg - Holland House Beach Hotel is located on the beach of Little Bay. Belair Beach Hotel comes close to white sandy beaches on the Caribbean coast. Underwater excursions and dives are organized with a professional instructor, deep-sea fishing tours.
Relax on the beaches
Tourists consider the conditions of Saint-Martin to be ideal for a relaxing serene pastime. In total, within the island there are more than 30 beaches that make up the top of the list of attractions of local French and Dutch resorts. Here you can swim in the azure waters, sunbathe, ride a jet ski, fly a paraglider. There are bars and restaurants offering visitors to taste dishes of European and Creole cuisine.
In the south-west of the Dutch territory is Capeca Beach, which was chosen by nudists. In the same part of the island of Saint-Martin - the airport, the beaches of Mallet and Maho, over which fly over the landing planes.
On the north-eastern French coast is Orient Beach - one of the best beaches in this part of the Caribbean. Just a few minutes walk to the southeast of it there are good conditions for a family holiday with young children.
Sports & Activities
Many tourists are attracted not only by the beaches, but also by active recreation on the water, sports (scuba diving, yachting). Orient Beach is famous for being protected from the waves by reefs, which is favorable for the underwater world of the marine reserve and is very popular with snorkelers and divers. Other travelers are more pleased with the opportunity to sail, go on a boat with a guide to the open sea, attend parties. Suitable months for windsurfing and kitesurfing are November-March, when waves appear on beaches and bays. Other aspects of recreation in the resorts of the island of Saint-Martin:
- Sea cruises;
- Excursions on foot, on sailboats, boats, bicycles;
- The study of fauna and flora in the reserves;
- Visiting of historical places.
In the beginning of March an annual regatta is held at Saint-Martin, in summer there are hip-hop, reggae, rock and jazz festivals. A popular event from early April to May is the traditional carnival.
What to see on the island
The city of Philipsburg is named after the Dutch navigator John Philip, who made a lot of efforts to develop the island and develop the sugar industry. The streets have preserved architectural and cultural monuments of the colonial past. Located near the main square, the court building was erected in 1793.
In different years, six churches and a museum have been built, revealing the historical and natural secrets of the island. There are very ancient artifacts that belong to the pre-Columbian era, when a small piece of land in the Caribbean Sea was inhabited by Indians. The years of war between France and the Netherlands for the right to own the island of Saint-Martin reflect finds from the fort built by the first settlers in 1631.
The capital of the French part of the island, the city of Marigot, dates back to 1689. There was a settlement around the place of sending to Europe ships with a load of sugar, fruits and seafood. Here was built Fort St. Louis - the current main historical attraction of the tropical island. Fans of antiquity will also like the exposition of the Museum of History and Culture, the oldest street of Marigot - Avenue of the Republic. Popular attractions about. Saint-Martin, about which many have heard, - Mount Peak du Paradis, a butterfly farm, a zoo. From cities, ferries run to the neighboring islands of the Caribbean.
Reviews of tourists
According to tourists who visited the island of Saint-Martin in different months and years, the rest here is distinguished by a number of advantages:
- Excellent beaches, covered with white sand or beautiful pebbles;
- A rich culture, an entertaining historical past;
- Cozy restaurants, bars, nightclubs;
- Duty free trade, many markets, shops, boutiques;
- Successful shopping (jewelry, perfume, Cuban cigars and rum for lovers).
European tourists call the island "too American," here more respect is paid to the dollar than the euro. Some complain that almost all products are imported. On a small patch of land between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean is not enough fresh water and fertile soil for agriculture.
The monotony of flora and fauna is also associated with a lack of moisture. Gradually, the area of protected natural areas increases. On the French side is the national reserve of St. Martin, which includes 154 hectares of coast, mangrove forests, salt ponds and 2,796 hectares of marine habitat.
Ecological tourism is becoming one of the directions for the development of the island of Saint-Martin. Its main asset - the turquoise sea, the blue sky and the abundance of the sun - is a sincere admiration of people who visited this corner of the tropical paradise between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.